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Green For All is part of a broad coalition of organizations working to develop a clean, equitable and modern transportation system in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

Our goal is to make big polluters pay for their pollution and invest in clean transportation solutions in low-income communities and communities of color most impacted by climate change. We’re working with community partners across the region to ensure regional policy is responsive to community needs.

What is the Transportation and Climate Initiative?

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The participating states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. These states are supported by the Georgetown Climate Center, who coordinates the regional collaboration.

What’s Green For All’s Role in TCI?

Green For All works to build a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. We advance solutions that bring clean energy, clean transportation, green jobs, and opportunities to the poorest, least served, and most polluted communities in the country. We have spent over a decade ensuring carbon pricing mechanisms lead to equitable solutions for overburdened and underserved communities. Green For All is working with racial justice, economic justice, transit justice, and environmental justice communities to ensure that the regional policy, being developed by the Transportation and Climate Initiative, benefits those who need it the most.

Environmental justice leaders and agency officials from California and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic discuss their efforts to adopt policies that improve air quality for disproportionately impacted communities. Panelists describe what policies communities have advocated for to advance robust air quality monitoring and reduce localized emissions in their areas and that should be adopted as complementary policies as part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative and as standalone legislation.

What’s at Stake:

  • Tailpipe pollution is deadly. Every year, more people die prematurely from traffic pollution-related health impacts than traffic accidents.
  • Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to traffic pollution and are overburdened with higher rates of asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. A recent study found that people of color are exposed to 66% more tailpipe pollution than white communities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. 
  • Low-income families spend a higher proportion of their income on transportation costs – up to 30% – and are often driving older less efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, communities of color have longer than average commute times and are more likely to rely on public transportation.
  • The cost of pollution is not free. Polluters need to be held accountable and pay for the damage their pollution causes.
  • With the money generated from polluters, we can invest in the most overburdened and under-resourced communities, and diminish the gap between eco-haves and eco-have-nots.

Background

In December 2018, states announced they would develop a regional “cap-and-invest” program, which would set a strict limit on transportation emissions.

Polluters would need to purchase emissions allowances and the money raised could fund clean transportation solutions.

Green For All has been involved ever since, to ensure that states design the program to be responsive to community needs.

An effective carbon pricing program that delivers equitable results must:

  • Engage & be responsive to the needs of impacted communities throughout the policy design and implementation process.
  • Set a strong cap/price that holds polluters accountable for the true cost of pollution.
  • Dedicate funds targeted directly at overburdened and underserved communities to offset new cost burdens resulting from the carbon price AND to create net positive environmental and economic benefits for these communities.
  • Ensure direct emissions reductions in communities hit first and worst by transportation emissions, including through complementary policies.
  • Make sure that jobs created are good jobs that lift people and families out of poverty, and tie project investments to fair labor, workforce, and supplier diversity standards.

THE LATEST

On October 23, 2020, Green For All submitted a comment letter in response to the proposed equity commitments announced at the TCI Webinar on Ensuring Environmental Justice and Equity in a Regional Low-Carbon Transportation Program. It details the need for at least 50% dedicated investments located in and directly benefiting disproportionately affected communities, complementary policies that will lead to direct emission reductions in overburdened communities, workforce development measures, and independently selected, representative equity advisory bodies that receive ample support for capacity building and decision-making power. Read letter here.

On March 20, 2020, Green For All helped draft and submit a letter with over 40 other organizations in response to the draft MOU released December 2019. This letter addressed the need for dedicated investments, representative community advisory committees, and strong complementary policies. Read the letter here.

On February 13th, 2019, Green For All convened 32 representatives from environmental, transit, labor, and social justice, and civil rights organizations in Philadelphia for a Northeast Transportation Equity Convening. 

On July 26th, 2019, eight racial, economic, environmental, and transit justice organizations submitted Policy Design Principles for an Equitable Clean Transportation Program. Read the letter here

On December 11th, 2019, Green for All released a toolkit for state officials, advocates, and community partners that provides detailed policy recommendations and resources for developing a regional cap-and-invest policy. It provides guidance for how to design a regional program that is responsive to the needs of low-income families, disproportionately pollution-impacted neighborhoods, and transit-underserved communities. Read the full toolkit here.

Resources